Eerie survival horror, colorful puzzle games, and stylish first-person shooters.
By Chloi Rad
Tons of awesome games come out every month, but in the shadow of high-profile AAA titles, even the best ones can slip under our radars. Whether you’re a fan of survival horror, colorful puzzlers, or nostalgic first-person shooters, there’s plenty to love in this month’s round-up.
Little Nightmares technically came out at the very end of April, but it was so good we wanted to make extra sure it made it onto your radar. This spooky puzzle platformer is set aboard a massive ship occupied by creatures so nightmarish, they feel like they walked right out of a mash-up between the fantastical worlds of Studio Ghibli and the twisted realms of European fairy tales. Gorgeous lighting and camera work bring its terrifying setting to life, creating a powerful mood that I haven’t felt since last year’s incredibly eerie Inside.
Release date: April 28, 2017
GNOG might be one of the coolest looking puzzle games in a while. Its series of hyper-colorful monster-headed physics toys are a joy to look at and interact with, not to mention the whimsical sounds and reactive music that accompany it. Its scenes come alive in new ways with the help of PlayStation VR. This one is out on PlayStation 4 only for now — PC and iOS coming later this year.
Release date: May 2, 2017
Available: PlayStation Store
Tumbleseed is a deceptively cute platformer and self-described “rolly roguelike” about balancing unique marble-like seeds on a vine to make it to the top of a mountain. But it isn’t that easy — its adorable cliffside scenes quickly give way to busy obstacle courses full of dangerous pits and all sorts of creatures that really, really want you dead. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly, but if you’re up for a challenge and enjoy the “every run is different” approach, Tumbleseed is worth a shot. It plays particularly well on the Nintendo Switch thanks to the Joy-Con’s HD rumble feature, which adds a distinct texture to Tumbleseed’s rolly heroes and adds a helpful physical element to your constant balancing act.
Release date: May 2, 2017
Strafe takes the fast-paced shooting and fluid movement of ’90s first-person shooters like Quake and adds in some permadeath for good measure. Its running and gunning feels super smooth and pairs well with its old-school low-res graphics. If nostalgia for early PC shooters is your thing, Strafe is worth a look, but even if you don’t care for the retro feel, there’s a good amount of action-packed sci-fi dungeon crawling to keep you busy for a while.
Release date: May 9, 2017
Don’t let the Early Access status drive you away from Dead Cells. This Dark Souls and Castlevania-inspired 2D action-platformer has been seeing some very positive reception since it hit Steam, namely for its satisfying combat and rewarding exploration.
Release date: May 10, 2017
Future Unfolding both looks and plays like nothing else on this list, and for that you might either love it or hate it. But if you’re interested in games that aren’t afraid to try something new and trust the player to make discoveries on their own, Future Unfolding is worth checking out. It’s a colorful and reflective top-down adventure game about exploring a sprawling landscape. Nothing is explained, but that’s part of its allure — finding and unlocking its world’s many secrets. It debuted in March for Windows and Mac, but came to PlayStation 4 this month.
Release date: March 15, 2017 (PC, Mac) / May 16, 2017 (PS4)
Old Man’s Journey is a peaceful 2D puzzle game that lets you explore and transform the environment around you to uncover new interactions and memories from its protagonist’s life. It’s light-hearted, nostalgic, and a little bittersweet, which is all conveyed perfectly in its pastel-colored storybook art and serene soundtrack. If you’re looking for something clever, but also a bit calmer than the usual fare, this one is for you.
Release date: May 18, 2017
Thumper is a brutal rhythm action game with a style and soundtrack like no other. Its intensity blew us away on PC and PlayStation VR last year, and now it’s on Nintendo Switch. But don’t let its portability fool you. Thumper is still stunning as a handheld experience, thanks to its haunting abstract world and a killer industrial soundtrack that combines eerie electronic riffs with otherworldly strings and theatrical war drums. The HD rumble of the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers also adds a subtle, textured feedback to your every move, elevating the violence of its high-speed motion to a new level.
Release date: October 10, 2016 (PC, PS4, PSVR) / May 18, 2017 (Nintendo Switch)
Pokemon: Magikarp Jump is a free-to-play mobile spin-off game that puts a cute twist on the virtual pet genre. As the name suggests, it’s all about catching, training, and caring for a Magikarp. It’s a more contained, focused experience than The Pokémon Company’s massively popular spin-off Pokémon Go, but it still captures the essence of the series: spending time to make your Pokémon the best it can be… even if it’s one of the series’ most laughed at. (But if you know what you’re doing, you can evolve your Magikarp into Gyarados.)
Release date: May 23, 2017
Superhot started as a unique game jam prototype before evolving into a full-fledged commercial game. Its clever time-only-moves-when-you-do mechanic turns its sharp first-person shooting into elaborate, time-bending puzzles that feel awesome to pull off. Superhot’s VR version (which debuted for Oculus Rift last year and is now available on the HTC Vive) lets you experience its stylish action a whole new way.
Tokyo 42’s stylish, minimalist renderings of future Tokyo are awesome to look at. Add in a seedy underworld of assassins, gameplay inspired by the original Grand Theft Auto, and a dash of tactical open-world stealth, and you get something pretty special.
Release date: May 31, 2017
Chloi Rad is an Associate Editor for IGN. Follow her on Twitter at @_chloi.